Acratech GV2 Ballhead

Acratech GV2 Long Term Field Test

Acratech CV2 BallheadI’ve been an admirer of Acratech gear since purchasing my Ultimate II Ballhead in 2006. They are certainly different from the norm yet have a very good reputation. They are extremely light weight too, seem well made, robust, and can support quite heavy loads. I’ve owned a GV2 ballhead for over 3 years now which has become my principal ballhead, so I thought it’s high time I write a review and see if it’s lived up to that impressive reputation.

The Acratech Style

Acratech ballheads certainly don’t look like traditional ballheads but accomplish much same task albeit in a slightly different manner. They look rather skeletal in design, with almost all of the ball exposed rather than the traditional totally enclosed design that most of us are used to. This may be off-putting to some as you’d think this would expose the internal workings to dust, sand and the elements, but Acratech advise that a simple rub down with a dampened cloth or some isopropyl alcohol is all that’s required (they warn never to use oil or WD-40). Even with my Ultimate-II ballhead, in reality, dirt has never posed a problem, even when dumped in sand on the beach. I’ve just rinsed off the head with water and wiped it down with a damp cloth and it’s been fine. Remarkably the dirt just never seems to gets inside the workings.

Read More»

Benro C-298 Carbon Fibre Tripod

Equipment Review & Retrospective

Reviewing a tripod nearly 5 years old may seem that I’ve missed the boat somewhat, but there’s a message to this story …

Back in October 2006 I purchased what I thought was my first professional quality tripod. Up until then I’d survived using a Manfrotto (Bogen) 190 Pro B aluminium tripod which, although adequate, I’d found weighty and not particularly stable, with the metal centre column being quite prone to vibration and an elastic wobble. This hampered the use of a large or heavy lenses and was especially prevalent under windy conditions. I also wanted a lighter, more compact tripod I could take on my travels. Carbon fibre tripods

Read More»

Tripod Woes

Equipment Failures (Gitzo GT3541LS Tripod)

I have had my fair share of disasters in the past with photographic equipment. Usually it’s odd items like scratched or broken grads and lost lens caps but I also have had my tripod blown over at Robin Hood’s Bay damaging my EF 24-105mm lens and a fall in the field in Africa which required a new IS unit to my EF 100-400mm zoom lens. Fortunately in both cases I was insured and the bulk of the repairs were covered.

Recently however, I had a rather an odd mishap and lost (yes lost!) a leg from my tripod. This was from my much prized Gitzo GT-3541-LS carbon fibre tripod; not a cheap item either and a tripod you expect to be built to the highest of standards too. But I guess you’re wondering how on earth I could loose a leg. Well it’s not quite as difficult as you may think.

Read More»
© Copyright johnbirchphotography - Designed by Pexeto
UA-42007738-1